Men's hockey notes: Gagner commits

Badgers receive verbal from highly regarded forward; tickets sold out for Denver series

The Wisconsin men's hockey team has secured a verbal commitment from Sam Gagner, one of the top prep forwards in the country, according a press release issued by his current team, the Sioux City Musketeers of the Tier I U.S. Hockey League. Gagner will join the Badgers for the 2007-08 season.

After scoring 180 points in midget hockey last year, Gagner, then 15 years old, was ranked the No. 3 prospect for the Major Junior Ontario Hockey League draft by Red Line Report Junior. After playing for the Toronto Marlies in 2004-05, however, Gagner chose to play for Sioux City with the aim of eventually joining an NCAA program.

Now a 16-year-old high school junior, Gagner is the youngest player selected to play in this season's USHL All-Star game.

"Sam is a player who sets very high goals for himself and works extremely hard to attain them," Sioux City coach Dave Siciliano said in the release. "Wisconsin is getting a player with great vision on the ice and his tremendous skills will help him lead the Badgers in the years to come."

Gagner has 29 points in 29 games this season for Sioux City. He is tied for 14th in the USHL in scoring and is sixth in assists (21).

A native of Oakville, Ontario, Gagner is the son of Dave Gagner, who played 946 games in 16 NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames, Florida Panthers and Vancouver Canucks.

See also the Wisconsin men's hockey program depth chart

Denver series sold out

The Badgers' home series against two-time defending NCAA champion Denver, Jan. 20-21, has been sold, the UW announced Tuesday. Wisconsin had previously announced sellouts for the Jan. 27-28 games against Minnesota, meaning that four of the Badgers' final six home games this season are sold out.

The 15,237-seat Kohl Center has been sold out 12 previous times for hockey since opening in the 1998-99 season. One of those sellouts came Nov. 12, when UW topped then-No. 1 Colorado College 3-0.

UW is currently averaging 12,852 fans through 12 home games this season, besting the NCAA record pace of 12,153 set in the Kohl Center's first season. The Badgers' final home series is March 3-4 against St. Cloud State.

The UW also announced that WCHA first-round playoff tickets will go on-sale beginning Monday, January 23 at 8:30 a.m. Tickets will be available for the first two playoff games, Friday, March 10 and Saturday, March 11. All reserved tickets will be $22, while upper reserved tickets will cost $18. There are no ticket promotions or discounts associated with the WCHA playoffs.

Should the Badgers fail to host a first-round series, a full refund will be available to fans who purchased tickets.

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